Delayed onset of monsoon and inadequate rainfall thereafter is keeping the water levels in the Upper Lake quite below its full tank level.
Given the present level of water and the rainfall scenario, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) authorities are apprehensive that the lake might not fill up this season. As on August 30, the water level in the Upper Lake stood at 1662.60 feet, over four feet below the full tank level of the lake (1666.80 feet).
Apart from its historic and scenic importance, the Upper Lake is one of the most important drinking water sources in the city. Filling up of the lake and consequent opening up of the Bhadbhada sluice gates on the lake to let out the excess water is a much anticipated event for the residents of Bhopal.
Last year, due to early arrival of monsoon and very heavy rainfall during June and July, the Upper Lake filled up on July 23 itself. Subsequently, the Bhadbhada gates had to be opened multiple times to maintain full tank level.
However this time, Bhopal is facing a rainfall deficiency of 29% and showers during month of August have been quite poor.
"The lake level has risen by just one feet during the last one month. We do not think the lake would fill up this time," assistant engineer of BMC (in-charge of Upper Lake) Rakesh Nigam told HT. On July 26, the water level at the lake stood at 1661.15 feet.
Meanwhile the Kolar reservoir, one the major drinking water sources for city, is also filling up slowly and is quite short of its full tank level. As on Saturday, the water level in the reservoir was at 454.78 metres against the full tank level of 462.20 feet. On July 26, the water level in Kolar stood at 451.12 metres. The reservoir had filled up to its full tank level in August last year.
Though addition of water supply from Narmada Project has eased out the drinking water supply situation in Bhopal during last two years, yet if the Kolar reservoir and Upper Lake do not fill up, water scarcity looms large.